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May 31, 2014

The Saturday after NW Folklife Festival

Hope you'll join us, at Wells Hall. Singles, couples, first-timers, and experienced dancers; All are Welcome. No partner needed; Alcohol and smoke-free; Workshop for newcomers (see below.) We have a great time, dancers, caller, and musicians too! Sponsored by the Seattle Folklore Society. Bring your weekend guests and join us for this festive holiday dance.

Our caller will be JAY FINKELSTEIN, a longstanding musician and contradancer; a real treat to dance to. He has a good directive calling style, conveyed in a clear and calming voice. Jay is well known in Olympia as the organizer of the First Saturday dance, and as the backup guitar in both their excellent 1st and 4th Sat house bands, as well several bands with fiddler Jesse Partridge. This past May 10, he called for the Olympia Volunteer String Band, a community-based mass band. His spirit, his choice of dances, and his connection with the crowd on the floor (experienced dancers to family of on-stage musicians) were extraordinary and inspiring. Join us and get on his wavelength; we're hoping for more of the same magic.

The band, SMALL PLEASURES, will be Vivian Williams on fiddle, Phil Katz on melodeons, and Phil Williams on guitar. We go back a long time playing for contra dances 40, 32, and 40 years respectively. Personally I (Phil K) can look out from the stage and recognize dancers I've been playing for since 1979 or 80. Gawrsh; this must be "tradition".

Our band plays "close to the dance and the dancers", choosing our tunes to match the dance chosen by the caller, and our styling to support the dancers as each dance evolves. It is a pleasure to play for our friends out on the dance floor. We call our contra tune repertoire Northwest and Yankee music. We bring together the Yankee contra repertoire of the Northeast, along with tunes from the pioneer Northwest.

Lately Vivian, a musical historian and researcher, has also been enthusiastically reintroducing tunes from our own contra musical history in Puget Sound; tunes from the Salmonberry (*) repertoire of the 1980's and early 90's, along with tunes she herself wrote for dancing in the 1970's and '80's. Recently at a Thursday gig of Chassez (Phil and Vivian and Terry Wergeland) folks noted how "lit up" she was. Kewl (did I say that?); we'll try to bring more of the same spirit.    

  • (*) For most of you folks who maybe don't go back as far, Salmonberry was a band, with two "house" callers, that started the tradition of Saturday contra dances in Puget Sound, playing for a Second Saturday dance in Seattle from Dec. 1979 till March 1993. Pleasures of Home band and the Fifth Saturday Contradance were descendents (may 1993) of Salmonberry and that Second Saturday Seattle dance; Small Pleasures is an outgrowth (~~Spring 2000) of Pleasures of Home.

Specifics on the Event:

The Fifth Saturday Contradance will be held at Christ Church Wells Hall, 310 North K Street, Tacoma - directions below. It is well-known as one of the sweetest halls in Puget Sound. (Note: It's the same location as the Tacoma Contra Dance that's held on Third Saturdays.)

The dance will run from 8:00 - 11:00 pm. The cost is $9.00, with a $2.00 discount for 18 down and 65 up. As always, a 10% discount will be available to Seattle Folklore Society members who request it.

There will be a newcomers' intro-lesson at 7:30 pm. Contra dancing is "not rocket science". Jay teaches a great introduction, and often gathers "his newcomers" together at the midpoint break-time to impart a few more things, once folks have had some experience out on the floor. We're proud of the tradition of asking newcomers and visitors to dance, and looking after them on the dance floor. (Experienced dancers are invited to bring any friends they've been wanting to introduce to contra dancing, and to help out by dancing in the mini-lesson.)

As an added bonus, if any folks who have been dancing a while would like to show up at 7:00, Jay will hold a little "tips and tricks" gathering, to share a few of the things that he believes make for truly graceful dancing "right inside" the music. And how experienced dancers can help bring a whole crowd together dancing together, in community with each other. (Those sort of things _sometimes_ just happen, but there's stuff individual dancers can do.)

OK a few notices . . .

Please avoid wearing scented products (e.g. perfume, aftershave, cologne, scented hand lotion) to the Fifth Saturday Contra Dance. (Dancing, being aerobic, magnifies their scent, and also the effect of the solvents used therein!) Some dancers are hypersensitive or allergic to such products.

A word about children's attendance: It is fine for older children and teenagers who are comfortable interacting with adults on their own. However, it is not appropriate for small children unless they are on the sidelines supervised by adults at all times.

A caution on parking: The street right across from the hall has been posted as a "residents only" zone, so please don't park there - tickets have been given. There is plenty of parking on adjacent streets, and there are spots behind the church as well.

Directions to Wells Hall   

310 North "K" Street, Tacoma

From Seattle, "Eastside" of Lake Washington, or Des Moines

I-5 south to exit 133 (Tacoma City Center). Then take I-705 and the Schuster Parkway exit on the right (still called I-705). From there again stay right and take the Stadium Way (first) exit from Schuster Pkwy. At the top of the exit ramp, turn right. The street goes up hill. Follow it til it ends, then swing left onto North 1st. You pass Stadium Thriftway and a Chevrolet lot, and then merge into Division at a traffic light. Continue on Division, turn right onto North "K". Wells Hall is the second building on the left. Enter the dance through the church courtyard.

From Olympia

Take Interstate 5 to Tacoma, exit 132 (Route 16-Gig Harbor exit). Follow Route 16 and take the Union Avenue exit and make a right turn. Follow Union to 6th Street and make a right. Follow 6th about a mile to a multi-way intersection; there take a soft left into Division Ave. Follow Division to North "K" Street, where you take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left. Or you can take a few extra minutes and come all the way north on I5 to the I-705 exit (Tacoma City Center). Then follow the directions onto Schuster Parkway, etc. as given above.

From West of the Narrows Bridge

Take WA 16 east across the Narrows, and take exit 1B for Union Ave. Keep left at the fork; follow signs for University of Puget Sound. Turn left onto S Union Ave (at which point you'll be northbound.) Go about 1.5 mile and turn right into 6th Avenue. Follow 6th about a mile to a multi-way intersection; there take a soft left into Division Ave. Follow Division to North "K" Street, where you take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left.

For more information please contact:
Phil Katz - - 206 722 8228.
(you know what to do with the ZZZ)

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Last modified 05/16/14.